Music is an integral part of every day at Sleepy Hollow Preschool. Our philosophy of learning through play extends to the musical experience as well. While some activities are teacher-directed and others are child-initiated, the goals are always centered around exploration and expression. Teachers incorporate singing, dancing, and instrument play into the curriculum in a variety of ways. Songs and rhythmic activities are routinely used to ease transitions, to foster a sense of community, and to support other concepts and curriculum goals during group gathering times. Musical activities, such as playing rhythm sticks or dancing with streamers, are offered by classroom teachers during structured gathering times as well as during free play. Recorded music of a variety of cultures and styles is often provided as a backdrop during other play and creative activities. A wide variety of rhythm instruments, simple tonal instruments and props are available to children of all age groups for free play on a daily basis. In addition to the musical experiences that are incorporated on a day-to-day basis, a music specialist visits the school regularly to meet with each class as a group.
The music specialist offers group music sessions in accordance with the learning through play philosophy as well. The goals of the music class are to expose children to a variety of basic musical concepts, styles, and instruments, to enhance cultural experiences, and to foster a love of and enduring interest in music, all while supporting the overall development of each child. The children are exposed to musical concepts such as beat, rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo (fast/slow) and dynamics (loud/soft) through experience and active participation, rather than through lecture or presentation. The music specialist keeps in mind the same curricular and developmental goals as the teaching staff and is attentive to the diversity of learning styles each group brings.
At Sleepy Hollow, we understand and celebrate the many ways that musical experiences can support children’s development. Music can help develop social skills (such as turn taking and learning names), listening skills, fine and gross motor skills (including balance and coordination), cognitive skills (such as language development and early math readiness), creativity, self-awareness, and cultural awareness. In fall, we twirl like falling leaves and sing about pumpkins and 8-legged spiders; in winter, we may sing of melting snow and hibernating bears; in spring, we festively dance around the Maypole! Music at Sleepy Hollow means singing, and playing, and listening, and watching, and counting, and clapping, and twirling, and shaking, and marching, and tapping, and ringing, and imagining, and joy.